May 11, 2020

Mike Foster (Straight Forward Design)

Discover the interview of Mike Foster from Straight Forward Design in London, UK.

How did you become designer ?

I was on a foundation design course in Durham in the North of England when a group of us were invited to Vaughn Oliver’s studios in London. Oliver designed the art for all five of the Pixies’ studio album covers, as well as for bands like the Cocteau Twins and Lush. It was like coming home – I knew from that moment what I wanted to do with my life, and I haven’t looked back since.

My first job at the tender age of 17 was designing the livery for Northumbrian Water’s fleet of vehicles. Not quite what I had envisaged for myself, but my father still thinks it’s my finest work!

How would you define your vision of design, your style ?

Everything we do has to be a simple expression of brand truth, and it must be honest and appropriate. People have to recognise what they’re looking at in a matter of seconds; they need to understand it, have faith in its integrity and then fall in love with it. And it must be appropriate for its distribution channel, too. We call this connect in FULL – successful brands must be Found, Understood and Loved, while being Lived from the inside out.

For the future, what are your professional projects

A big focus for us right now is the growth of our agency. Straight Forward Design is expanding beyond Fitzrovia in Central London and heading to the USA. It’s very important to us that we maintain our company culture as we grow. People love working here and clients love working with us, and we don’t want that to change. So, we’re not growing too rapidly, and we’re making sure the whole team knows exactly what’s going on. We’re all in it together.

Wherever we’re based, at the heart of our agency is values-based leadership with an ethos of care and responsibility, which will continue to inform all our work, whether that’s FMCG, health and wellbeing, personal care, whatever.

What do you like the most in your job ?

I enjoy coming to work in the morning. I really look forward to getting to the studio every day and solving problems with great people. 

Discover more about Mike and Straight Forward Design’s work here.

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